Day Care and Schooling

If you are moving to Finland with your spouse/partner and family, it is important to carefully consider the practical arrangements for the family members, so that they would also have a fulfilling and productive stay in Finland. The following information is intended to help make the transition to Finland as smooth as possible for new staff members and their families.

Day care
Pre-school
Schools

DAY CARE           

In accordance with Finnish law, all children aged between 0 to 6 years of age living in Finland are entitled to municipal day care. Part-time and full-time day care is provided by day care centres (päiväkoti) or family day care providers (perhepäivähoito). There are also some open early childhood education services (avoimet varhaiskasvatuspalvelut) which include club or park activities for a couple of hours two times a week. Day care fees are determined on the basis of the parents' income and the size of the family. Maximum fees are about 290 € per month (2017).

A day care place for a child can be applied for at anytime of the year. Applications should be submitted four months before the desired start of the day care. For day care applications, please see:
Joensuu
Kuopio
Savonlinna  (in Finnish only)

International day care in the UEF campus towns:

Joensuu
The English Kindergarten of Joensuu
Linnunniementie 4
englanninkielinenleikkikoulu (at) gmail.com

Kuopio
The English Kindergarten of Kuopio
Tulliportinkatu 37 H
marianna@enkkukuopio.fi

Deutscher Kindergarten (Kuopion saksalainen päiväkoti)
Kauppakatu 61
paivakoti@kuopionsaksalainenpaivakoti.com

Savonlinna
Linnala play school (Linnalan leikkikoulu) – some of the activities in English
Tuula Pölönen, tel 358  44 3511 825, email: tuula.polonen(at)linnala.fi
Kirsi Kohonen, tel 358  40 680 3802, email: kirsi.kohonen(at)linnala

Pre-School

All six-year-olds have the right to voluntary pre-school education (minedu.fi) before the compulsory education begins at the age of seven. The objective of pre-school education is to support the child's preparedness for school and to practice the basic knowledge and skills that he/she will need at school. 

Pre-school education is usually offered at day care centres. The English and German Kindergartens also offer pre-school education.  Preschool education is offered on school days (Monday to Friday). The operating periods and holidays are the same as those at comprehensive schools. Instruction is given four hours per day.  Pre-school education is free of charge. If a family needs child care in addition to preschool, partial day care fees are charged.

The enrolment period for pre-school schools is usually in January / February. For enrolment forms (in Finnish only), please see: 
Joensuu
Kuopio
Savonlinna

Schools

If you are moving to Finland with school-aged (7-16) children, education is compulsory for them. Comprehensive education (minedu.fi) begins during the year when the child turns seven and ends when all courses have been completed, or 10 years have elapsed from the beginning of the compulsory education.

Lower stage comprehensive school takes six years, classes 1-6, and upper stage comprehensive school comprises years 7-9. Basic education including textbooks, tools etc. is free of charge. In addition, pupils are offered a free daily meal.

Bilingual schools and preparatory education

In eastern Finland, basic education is usually arranged in Finnish but there are certain schools that offer bilingual teaching.  All comprehensive school age children (7 - 17 year olds), who have recently moved to Finland and cannot get by in the Finnish language, are entitled to preparatory education. This allows pupils to get acquainted with Finnish schooling, its customs and teaching methods. Immigrant pupils are also entitled to get education in their own language for a couple of hours a week. Pupils can also learn Finnish as a second language in some schools. Information leaflets on education for immigrants is available in several languages at: http://www.oph.fi/english/publications/brochures

Allocation of a school and enrolment

The child is usually allocated a place in a school near where you live or in some other suitable place, which makes school travel as short and safe as possible. The local authorities have a statutory duty to provide education for children of compulsory school age living in their areas. The parent(s) can also, for a justified reason, apply for a place in a school other than the child's nearest school. The child can be admitted to the school if there are places available. If there are more applicants than available places, certain qualification criteria will be applied. Please note that in this case the parent(s) are responsible for covering any possible school transportation costs.

Typically, a child needs to be enrolled to start school (first graders) in late January or early February. If your child is at a higher grade or you move to Finland during the school year, please contact the education department in your city.

Joensuu
City of Joensuu, Education department
Torikatu 21 C, 3rd floor, 80100 Joensuu
Tel. 358 13 267 7111

Kuopio
City of Kuopio, Education department
Perusopetus (Basic education)
sari.helena.kokkonen(at)kuopio.fi
Vuorikatu 27, 70100 Kuopio
Tel. 358 17 184 111

Savonlinna
Sivistysvirasto/koulutoimi
Head of Education
Tel. +358 44 417 4203

 

Fees and curriculum

Schools up to university level are almost exclusively funded and administered by the municipalities in Finland (local government). There are few private schools. Public schools are uniformly of a high quality. The local or school curriculum is based on a national core curriculum. As a rule, all teachers have a Master's level university degree.  There is, however, relatively little extracurricular activity, and children's free-time activities are often quite separate from those during the school day.

School year

The school year begins in mid-August and ends in late May or early June. The school year is interrupted by several vacations: Fall break (sometime in October), Christmas vacation, winter vacation (typically week 10 in Joensuu, Kuopio and Savonlinna), and Easter break. Students attend school Monday through Friday.

 

Bilingual schools

Joensuu -schools offering bilingual teaching (Finnish-English or Finnish-Russian)

Kanervala School (age group 7-13)
Principal Iris Kinnunen
Tel + 358 50 439 0380
iris.kinnunen(at)jns.fi

Lyseon peruskoulu (age group 13-16)
Principal Anna Renko
Tel. + 358 50 540 3552
anna.renko(at)jns.fi

The Finnish-Russian School of Eastern Finland (age group 7-16)
Leading principal Petri Kyyrä
Tel: +358 40 594 5336

Joensuun lyseon lukio ( General upper-secondary school, age group 16-19), International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

All schools in Joensuu (in Finnish):

- Primary schools in Joensuu (age group 7-13)
- Primary schools in Joensuu (age group 13-16)
- Upper secondary schools in Joensuu (age group 16-19)   
 

Kuopio

Guides (pdf):
Kuopio -Education in English in (age groups 3-19)
Welcome to School (in English)
Welcome to School (in Russian)
All schools in Kuopio

Schools offering bilingual teaching (Finnish-English) in Kuopio:

Rajala Primary School (age group 7-13)
Sammakkolammentie 14, 70200 Kuopio
Principal Outi Karikoski
Tel. +358 (0)17 184 351
outi.karikoski (a)kuopio.fi

Hatsala Classical School (age group 13-16)
Opistotie 3, 70200 Kuopio
Principal Taina Vainio
Tel. +358 (0)17 184 501
taina.vainio (a)kuopio.fi

Kuopion Lyseon lukio High School (age group 16-19)
Puijonkatu 18 , 70110 Kuopio
Principal Samuli Laitinen
+358 (0)44 718 4562
samuli.laitinen@opedu.kuopio.fi

IB-coordinator Suvi Tirkkonen
Tel. +358 (0)44-7184568
suvi.tirkkonen@opedu.kuopio.fi